I love reading Paul Gatza’s blog posts over at the Brewer’s Association, mostly because I’m a bit of a numbers nerd when it comes to craft beer and he’s always sharing stats. I love following the “story” of what’s happening in the rapidly evolving world of good beer. It’s like my favorite soap opera.
The latest bit of data Paul shared were the Top 5 fastest growing styles of craft beer. These are based on sales at food, drug and convenience stores since the beginning of the year. I think they paint an interesting picture:
- Stout +61%
- Pilsner +49%
- IPA +40%
- Other Pale Lager +38%
- Variety Packs +30%
First off, hooray for stouts! Keep buying them people! As a lover of dark beers, it makes me happy to see them doing so well, especially if it means the shelves will be stocked with more depth in the future. Perhaps the rise in stout and IPA sales detailed above shows that veteran craft beer drinkers have started buying more beer from food, drug and convenience stores ( the “if you stock it, they will come” theory).
It’s also interesting to see pilsners and pale lagers on the rise. These are the gateway beers, so one guess is that this growth is fueled by new people pouring into the fold. This might also be the case for the growth in variety pack sales, as they are a great place for folks to start as well. Of course this is food, drug and convenience store data, so the sales growth of gentler beers might simply be due to the fact that these outlets have begun to stock more craft beers, and pilsners, pale lagers and variety packs appeal to the masses.
I’ll be honest and say that it is slightly painful for me to see the continued rise of the IPA. Right now, seasonal beers and pale ales are the top sellers in food, convenience and drug stores, but Gatza estimates that IPA’s will continue to gain ground and take the sales crown in the next year or two. While I’ve learned to love and crave IPA’s, I’ve been turned off by their dominance since I got into craft beer. It always pissed me off that IPA’s took up so much shelf space that could have been dedicated to a wider variety of beers. But the cash register rules, and it’s clear that folks love a good hop bomb.
So what do you think about this data? I think it’s a sign that craft beer has taken hold with non-beer-geeks, and that our little world won’t be so little for long, but that’s just my take.
Have you seen good beer popping up in new places in your neck of the woods?
As always, let us know below!